This week we revisit a favourite of mine, Kraven’s Last Hunt. In the original story, Great White Hunter and Owner Of A Lion Vest Kraven the Hunter goes insane, kidnaps Spider-Man, buries him alive, beats the shit out of people and then blows his own head off with a shotgun. It’s AMAZING.
This story is… less of that. We open on Spidey swinging home one night when Kraven shoots him with a blow dart, immobilizing him. But instead of just tying Spidey up and burying him, Kraven does what super villains should have been doing for years and shoots Spidey in the fucking head. It’s the smartest thing a Spider-Man villain has ever done but it’s not what you’d call dramatically satisfying.
Kraven and his lackeys bring the spectacular Spider-Corpse to a graveyard where they bury it with a custom gravestone, after which Kraven literally dances on the grave. After a quick trip to his back to his mansion to devour massive handfuls of spiders, I vomit, I mean he swipes Spidey’s costume and heads out on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge™ against… random street crime. Hey, thanks, Kraven. You’re doing… well, the Punisher’s work anyway.
Back at Peter Parker’s Peter aparkment (sorry), Mary Jane Watson-Parker-Bouvier-Terwilliger-Hutz-McClure-Nahasapeemapetilon waits by the window and mostly frets. She eventually goes out into the rain to find her husband and is immediately cat called by street douches. This issue is a real winner for MJ. Luckily, Spider-Kraven shows up literally foaming at the mouth and rescues her. MJ sees how brutal Spider-Man acts, how he didn’t even notice her and most importantly how he kept his mouth shut for the entire battle.
“That is definitely not my Peter.” She thinks.
MJ starts visiting the usual Spidey cast for help. Eventually, Flash Thompson takes her to the Baxter Building where they meet with the Human Torch who… I guess is still friends with Spidey but doesn’t know who he is yet? Anyway, the Torch has been watching the news and seeing all these brutal attacks by Spider-Man and figures something isn’t exactly kosher. He calls two friends and they call two friends and eventually the Torch pulls together Spidey’s other closest friends in the Marvel Universe, Daredevil and… Captain America? Fine.
The three heroes split up to look for this new Spidey and they eventually all find him. Seperately. Which is weird. Anyway, they figure out that this isn’t Spidey pretty quickly as he endangers a baby and throws bricks at the Human Torch. No spider in history has ever thrown a brick at anyone. (If you have knowledge of spiders hurling bricks at you or a friend, please post your story in the comments.)
Spidey’s Amazing Friends meet up at the Baxter Building where MJ continues to wait and cry. They tell her that they believe her about the new brutal Spider-Man being an imposter and she tells them that she’s actually Mrs. Spider-Man. (You know, I would kill for some Golden Age Spider-Man stories where MJ tries to trick Spider-Man into marrying her.)
Meanwhile, New York is having bigger problems as a gross rat monster known as the Vermin has been dragging folks into the sewer and eating them. Trust me, this is a bigger deal in the original story. The Vermin attacks J Jonah Jameson while he’s waiting for a cab and is about to drag him into the sewer to make J Jonah Jibblets when Spider-Kraven arrives.
This, of course, results in a rant of “Help! Spider-Man and his best friend this giant rat were going to eat me!” which is definitely newsworthy.
The Torch, Cap and Daredevil arrive and then everyone beats the shit out of each other for a while. Beaten, Kraven flees and the heroes follow him back to the cemetery where the find he has dug up Peter’s grave and is now eating him. Which is all sorts of disgusting. The Torch finally beats Kraven while Cap puts a tarp over the devoured remains of Peter Parker. Who was eaten. By a silver age villain in a lion vest.
Everyone heads back to Mary Jane’s place where she cries a lot more but at least can stop standing by windows now. Kraven gets carted to a mental institution where he can eat all the spiders he wants and maybe eventually work for Dracula which I am now realizing is a comic I absolutely want to read.
Meanwhile, MJ goes to tell Aunt May what’s happened to her nephew but this is mean crotchety Aunt May who doesn’t believe her and is mostly just a jerk. Thanks for nothing, Aunt May! Now who’s going to lift machinery to get you your heart medication?! You dick!
At the funeral, Mary Jane has the bright idea to hold a press conference at the Baxter Building telling the world what a hero Spider-Man actually was. In life, wealth and fame he may have ignore, but in death he should at least get some praise. Unfortunately, Jameson shows up to present his yelling, hysterical side of the story. Everyone latches on a picture of the Torch trying to get JJJ to leave and ignores the whole “abusing a grieving widow” angle. All of this results in a world much less trusting of super-heroes. The president bans super heroes from meeting and the Avengers and the FF close up shop. So look forward to that next Skrull invasion, folks! Meanwhile, Mary Jane apologizes to Peter’s grave for screwing up his death worse than he screwed up his life!
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